Ballet Stars

This New Video Collab with Tiffany & Co. Features NYCB Dancers Dripping in Jewels

Sisters and New York City Ballet corps dancers Mary Thomas MacKinnon and Olivia MacKinnon. Courtesy Ezra Hurwitz.

When Elle Decor approached Ezra Hurwitz to create a campaign with Tiffany & Co., the former Miami City Ballet dancer-turned-filmmaker knew just who he wanted to feature: the dancers of New York City Ballet.


Elle Decor was looking to develop organic sponsored content featuring the famous jewelry brand, and gave Hurwitz a huge amount of creative freedom in building a concept. "Tiffany & Co. had initially suggested something about featuring a modern family and highlighting unusual or progressive family units, and how that looks in their domestic spaces," says Hurwitz. "Having been a professional dancer, I felt that a company is very much like a family." Hurwitz decided to develop that idea on two levels: an imagined dream house in which dancers from NYCB all lived together, and individual family units that have developed within the company. His finished video, seen below, features nine current and former NYCB dancers, among them Troy Schumacher and his then-nine-months-pregnant wife Ashley Laracey (they welcomed their twin babies into the world last week), sisters and corps de ballet dancers Olivia MacKinnon and Mary Thomas MacKinnon, principal dancer Maria Kowroski and her four-year-old son Dylan, and former soloist and current ballet master Craig Hall and his husband, NYCB yoga teacher Frank Wildermann.

The film is accompanied by three stories published on the Elle Decor website on Korowski, Schumacher and Laracey, and Hall and Wildermann, featuring stills from Hurwitz's shoot. "The whole thing was about this domestic intimacy, and I wanted the dancers to be more than pretty faces," he says. "I was really happy that we could expand upon the visual story with these articles."

"Jovani Furlan just joined NYCB from MCB this fall," says Hurwitz. "It was fun to play with having Jovani be the outsider, coming into this house and interacting with them."

Courtesy Ezra Hurwitz

Filming took place over one day in Elle Decor's Manhattan apartment showroom, which came with its own set of challenges. "Shooting in lived spaces can be tricky, because you don't only need space for the talent, but twice as much space for the equipment," says Hurwitz. There was also the task of making all of the dancers—including the very pregnant Laracey and injured Jenelle Manzi—comfortable. Hurwitz brought Sara Mearns into the mix with the idea of shooting her in a bathtub while wearing diamonds. But he didn't realize that the showroom didn't have hot water. "She full on submerged into a cold plunge pool," he says. "She was totally game, so kudos to her." Hurwitz's partner, NYCB principal Gonzalo Garcia, was on set to wrangle Kowrowski's young son; the jewelry also came with its own babysitters. "There was security on set from Tiffany & Co. for the four plus million dollars worth of diamonds that we had," says Hurwitz.

"Jenelle (Manzi), who I grew up with at School of American Ballet, is about to launch her own food start-up called Get Golden," says Hurwitz. "For readers and viewers I think subtle references like that add texture and intrigue."

Courtesy Ezra Hurwitz

Nevertheless, Hurwitz was able to bring his dream to fruition. "The concept was a play on glamour and fashion but in a domestic space, with lots of quirky colors," he says. "I definitely wanted it to be less than realistic. Not dancers in their homes in their pajamas, but a fantasy of how we imagine them." That goal is more than evident in the images of the MacKinnon sisters sitting on a couch, dripping in jewels while sewing their pointe shoes, and Kowroski playing with her son in a red Valentino gown. To that end, Hurwitz titled the campaign Ballet Flat. "It's just a fun play on words," he says. "It was my fantasy of what a house of dance might look like."

Instagram

Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

Keep reading...
Sponsored by Ellison Ballet
Rachel Neville, Courtesy Ellison Ballet

If you've got your heart set on dancing for, say, San Francisco Ballet, you should attend a school that specializes in Balanchine, right? Not necessarily: It's actually a misconception that you have to train in a particular style or technique in order to pursue a career in that style. Ellison Ballet in New York City—which specializes in Vaganova technique—is living proof: Graduates of Ellison's year-round program and summer intensives go on to ballet companies that perform in a wide range of styles, and use what they've learned from Vaganova to land jobs.

Here are five reasons why studying Vaganova technique can actually make you a sought-after dancer for any number of ballet companies:

Keep reading...
News
Ballet Jörgen's Hannah Mae Cruddas and Elizabeth Gagnon in Anne of Green Gables. Linda Schettle, Courtesy Ballet Jörgen.

Last year we found out that Canada's Ballet Jörgen was creating a full-length ballet based on one of our all-time favorite children's books—Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables—and, needless to say, we were thrilled. It seems that audiences everywhere feel the same way. Since its premiere in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in September of 2019, artistic director Bengt Jörgen's production has been presented in a long list of cities across Canada and the upper United States.

Keep reading...
Ballet Stars
Morgan in rehearsal for Firebird. "When something is taken away from you, you appreciate it 10 times more once you have it back, she says. Lilly Echeverria.

A couple years ago, if you had told Kathryn Morgan that she'd be a soloist at Miami City Ballet, learning roles like the Firebird, Mercedes in Don Quixote and the Striptease Girl in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, she would have said you were crazy. But last April, seven years after she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and left her career at New York City Ballet behind, Morgan signed a professional company contract once again.

Keep reading...